The Manning has, once again, produced the goods with many big schools of mullet going out to sea. A couple of big hauls have already been made and there are still plenty of fish to leave the river.
The weather conditions have not been great for fishing with plenty of rain, winds and big seas restricting the anglers chasing the big jewfish that accompany the mullet up the coast. The quality of jewfish caught is down compared with previous years. The average fish caught now is in the 8-15kg range, a few years ago the average fish would have been 20-28kg.
All the reports I receive from the people who go diving around the headlands, offshore bommies and along the retaining walls indicate that there are lots of jew around but they are much smaller and only a few big fish are with each school.
Now that the mullet are running the bream will not be far behind. They will school up in the lower reaches of the river and then move out to sea to journey north to spawn and enter another river. Bream from estuaries and lakes further south will populate the Manning. Some of the local fish that are late spawning will probably stay in the system until next year.
Luderick are also plentiful at the present time and can be caught at night on fresh yabbies fished as a floating bait. Jewfish to 10kg can be caught on fish baits and soft plastics from the rocks of the sea wall.
The beaches have been knocked around by the heavy seas but there are still good patches of water to fish for tailor, bream and school jewfish.
The northern end of Crowdy Beach usually provides the best-sized tailor of a kilo or better. The southern end of the beach and Harrington beach usually harbour the smaller choppers. In June and July bigger fish can be caught from both beaches. At this time of the year a slab of fresh tailor or half a tailor hooked through the head can attract a decent sized jew to have a bite.
The outside fishing has been quite good with snapper, pearlies, flathead, bonito, mac tuna and dolphin fish being boated.
The snapper are falling to soft plastics fished in the shallow water, and fish to 6kg have been weighed. The pearlies have come from the northern grounds with the largest fish going 2kg. Flathead are being caught on the drift while the bonito and mac tuna have been taken on trolled lures. The dolphin fish have been caught further out to sea around buoys and floating debris.
At the present time it seems that the persistent rain could put a decent fresh in the river. This would make the fishing in June excellent because all the fish will be flushed down to the mouth of the estuary.
Bream and luderick will be the species to target in the river while tailor, bream and jew will be the fish to chase on the beaches. Outside fishing will be much the same as now with plenty of snapper and surface fish to catch.Reads: 4796